LS2 XTRA Helmet Review – Retro Cool in Carbon Fibre
Across the world, the interest in retro-styled motorcycles and riding kit continues to grow. From top end brands like Triumph and BMW, tiny manufacturers like Mash and Herald or those uber-cool custom builders creating street scramblers in back yard sheds, retro is in right now. And if that’s your thing, the all new LS2 XTRA could be just the helmet to compliment that sweet ride ….
The new LS2 XTRA is made from carbon fibre, from the shorty peak right through the helmet’s outer shell, and available in three shell different sizes. This allows the LS2 to come in at a featherweight 950g, reducing rider fatigue during long rides and mimising inertia in crashes.
The helmet uses a long oval construction to improve fit and make it easy to put on and take off.
If the styling looks familiar, the design cues are clearly from late 70’s motocross helmets, like the classic Bell Moto worn by factory racers like Bob Hannah, Broc Glover and Kent Howerton.
Forty years on from those racer’s heydays, the classic design still looks fantastic and it’s no wonder it’s a popular look for those looking for retro cool.
The MX471 has a breathable, removable and washable EPS inner liner so that you can keep it nice and fresh.
The fastening is a classic double D on a reinforced chin strap, both ends of which are held in place with a metal security plate, rather than just a conventional rivet fastening. The helmet also uses an emergency release system that enables the cheek pads to be removed in an accident and thus ease removal of the helmet.
In terms of ventilation, the LS2 has it covered. There are four large vents across the chin piece, a similar amount in the forehead area and exit ports at the back. That said, as the helmet sits away from the face, has no visor and is designed to be used with goggles thanks to the large aperture, then getting the air in shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
For sizes, the XTRA goes from XS right up to 2XL. And if you don’t like the short peak, there’s a long one in the box too. along with a very substantial carry bag and a little inflatable ring to rest it on when changing the peak. Nice.
The wording on the box claims that it is “possibly the world’s most interesting motocross helmet”. Not sure how they’ve reached that conclusion, but it’s certainly a cool helmet.
In terms of colour options, LS2 have gone with the full Henry Ford palette – any colour as long as it’s black. There are no other options, so the carbon construction and weave is fully on display. All the better for showing off to your moody hipster friends …
ON THE TRAil, on the road
OK, so it matters not one jot how good the helmet looks if it doesn’t perform on the bike. So we set off for a few laps of the local lanes on the enduro bike before a quick pit stop and change of duds for a road ride to fully test the LS2. It might be retro styled and fit with the whole street scrambler schtick, but it’s marketed as an pukka off-road helmet, so it should be able to do both.
The first and overwhelming impression is just how light the lid feels. When most helmets come in at least 1200g and some up to 1500g, then the LS2’s featherweight 950g feels like a beanie hat in comparison. It’s incredibly light and consequently it’s great to wear as there is no chance of neck fatigue on longer or more physical rides.
SHOP FOR THE ADV HELMETS WE RECOMMEND…
The fit is good and comfortable, with the padding holding your head secure without squashing in your cheeks. The aperture for goggles is wide and makes fitting simple, but whereas the amount of ventilation makes this an ideal summer or off-road helmet, this aspect of the design does make it less appropriate on the roads in winter as there’s a lot of cold air getting into the structure and hence your head. If you are deficient in the hair department, you will notice!
The shorty peak is best on the road as it reduces the wind pull at speed, but on the trail it’s best to swap over to the longer version for sun shading and keeping mud off your goggles.
In terms of road noise, then inevitably the fact that this is essentially a motocross helmet and there is no visor means that wind noise is higher than a conventional road helmet. If this is a problem, and you don’t like riding with goggles then this helmet is probably not for you.
If the style works for you on the road or you are going to be using the helmet off road anyway, then just wearing good quality ear plugs will sort the problem in a few seconds. The LS2 is a great addition to the gear bag.
The fit and feel of the Xtra is spot on, with no tight spots. The lining is suitably soft and the removable padding cushions your head well. We like it.
Having never owned a carbon fibre helmet, we’re not sure how the bare surface is going to last the course of regular use on and off road. But hell, it looks killer!
OK so the LS2 Xtra is bound to fall down here as it retails at a punchy £400 from most outlets, but that’s what you are going to pay for a full carbon helmet.
We love the retro feel of the Xtra, and teamed up with mirrored or dark lensed motocross goggles, the helmet looks as cool as you can get.
RIDE EXPEDITIONS RATING - LS2 XTRA Helmet
Like our LS2 Pioneer helmet, we like the LS2 XTRA a lot. It’s a mix of old-skool styling with bang up-to-date carbon construction and safety features that works well, and is ridiculously light to wear. OK, so you can’t wear a visor with it, but if you want to, you are kind of missing the point of this style of helmet.
The full range of LS2 helmets can be seen here